Finnish nature is something really special and it’s also one of the things I always miss the most when living abroad. No matter which season, our nature has always something unique to offer that you can’t find anywhere else. Traditionally at the end of the summer and start of the autumn we go mushroom hunting. Every year we get a little bit more into this hobby, or should I say habit, and last year it appeared as a purchase of a mushroom dryer. Even if besides mushrooms we have used it a couple of times for drying fruits, at some point I started to regret this purchase. Most of the time the dryer is just getting dusty in the kitchen cupboard and to be honest, we could also dry our mushrooms in the oven or in sauna, if we even find enough for drying and preserving.
On the third mushroom hunt of this season I found the first ‘cep’ of my life which I fried in bacon fat for breakfast to accompany my bacon and eggs. The Finnish name for this mushroom, translated from word to word, would be “delicious bolete” and I have to admit that at least when prepared this way, the mushroom really lives up to its’ name. After breakfast I suddenly found myself next to my laptop assembling a home-made mushroom guide for our next mushroom hunt. Mushroom guides saved on our phones we headed for the forest beyond our own back yard.
Previous years we have only picked chanterelles and trumpet chanterelles. The reason is that my mushroom knowledge hasn’t been sufficient enough to pick any other mushrooms. Now when we had better prepared ourselves, with the help of our little mushroom guide, our basket filled in half an hour with tall russulas, copper brittlegills and rufous milkcaps. (This is great – now I learn the mushroom names in English as well!)
We went back to the car to empty our basket and headed back to the woods. After some time we returned to the car again with full basket, only this time half of the haul consisted of perky orange chanterelles. Now we had use for our mushroom dryer!
Even if we left berries alone for now, I had to take a couple of pictures to show what else our forests have to offer. Often my foreign friends don’t understand why I find it weird to buy blueberries in a grocery store. Maybe these pictures help understanding the reason, at least a little bit.
Have you ever been wondering how people were able to live without smart phones? We really found our phones useful when wading in the forest, only concentrating on mushrooms, we totally got disoriented and we couldn’t figure out anymore which direction we left the car. Map and compass apps were priceless as our own instincts directed us in completely opposite direction. I have to confess it was definitely the first time ever I got lost during mushroom hunt. On the other hand, I don’t think people are normally prepared with a map and compass when going for mushrooms. Or are they?
We could still have use for a proper mushroom guidebook. We found so many mushrooms that we had absolutely no idea what they were. It would be so nice to be able to pick all of the edible mushrooms we find. So the task of the week is to get a mushroom guide and learn to recognize, among others, the mushrooms below.
I can’t wait for the next trip to the forest! Welcome to autumn!